Frequently Asked Questions
What is parkour?
- Parkour is a way of thinking/behaving mixed with a way of moving and training the body/mind. Parkour practitioners adapt their movements to overcome obstacles in their environment and at the same time, adhere to specific philosophies that guide their training.
- Check out the what is parkour? page for a deeper look.
I / my kids want to learn parkour, are there classes I can take?
- Yes, there are training opportunities in most cities in New Zealand to suit everyones needs. Free training sessions facilitated by NZ Parkour members, classes by NZ Parkour instructors or our delivery partners and more.
- To see what is available in your area, visit your local community page.
Should I / my kids start learning parkour inside first?
- Not necessarily. It’s possible that no outdoor options suit you or your kids, so take what you can get it. However, some indoor training options (e.g. gymnastic centres) do not replicate natural or urban environments as they are not parkour facilities. Learning skills indoors and taking them outdoors does not always adequately prepare a practitioner for the demands of the real world and can be dangerous.
- It can actually be safer to build up slowly in an outdoor environment where you’re required to have respect for yourself and your surroundings, receiving the necessary feedback to make wise decisions instead of pushing your boundaries without thinking in a “safe” environment.
Where is the nearest training facility or parkour park?
- Right outside your front door! Parkour was born outdoors and that’s where it really thrives.
- Currently there are no dedicated “parkour parks” in New Zealand, though there are indoor facilities that provide parkour training. While there are benefits to such spaces, you should know that the whole world is your playground – that means parkour parks are luxury items, not necessities.
- Read our publication on Key Elements and Recommendations for the Integration of Parkour in Landscape and Design.
When is the next parkour gathering or community event?
- Have a look at the sidebar or go direct to the event calendar to see when the next gatherings and events are.
Is parkour safe? / Do bad accidents happen?
- Parkour is actually all about safety (not danger) and is an excellent tool for teaching sound risk assessment. Even though skilled parkour practitioners can seem like they are doing daring feats, compared to the average person, they are typically more measured in their approach to training than beginners.
- Parkour is not about stunts, and there is no expectation that new practitioners should copy what they see others doing. Most parkour techniques can be broken down and scaled, allowing for safe progression at each individual’s preferred pace.
- Small cuts, bruises and scrapes come with the territory, but serious injuries are rare in parkour so long as you train sensibly. Start small and build up gradually over time. Only attempt things that you know you’re capable of and never do anything just because somebody told you to. If you follow the philosophy of parkour then avoiding major injuries for all of your training days is a very real possibility.
What is freerunning? / Can you do a backflip?
- The word freerunning was first used to describe parkour to an English speaking audience in the documentary Jump London. It is now most commonly associated with the more freestyle and acrobatic way of moving through ones environment.
- Sebastian Foucan (founder of freerunning) defines it as “the art of expressing yourself through movement in your environment without limitations”.
- In most places, parkour and freerunning are trained side by side and parkour is increasingly used as the umbrella term for both. Get amongst it!
- Backflips are not a requirement or necessity for parkour or freerunning, though many practitioners do them.
Parkour, history + training
How much does it cost to do parkour?
- Parkour is as cheap as you want it to be! You can start doing parkour right now for free (head over to your local community page and to see how you can meet up with the locals) and never pay a cent.
- Parkour NZ runs classes in Hamilton with termly, yearly and casual drop in rates. Check out the Hamilton page for details.
- Classes by parkour industry providers will vary from city to city and provider to provider. You will need to contact them directly for information.
- If you stick with parkour it will change the way you view the environment and there’s a good chance you’ll get the itch to travel all over the world, to meet new people and explore foreign lands – this can get expensive. You have been warned 😉
Where does parkour come from? / Who invented it?
- The short answer is that it comes from France and was inherited by David Belle (from his father Raymond Belle) and developed by him and his friends in the suburbs of Paris in the late 1980’s.
- The full history of parkour is much richer however and is worth looking into.
What does the word 'parkour' mean?
- The word parkour is an anglicised version of the French word “parcours” which means route or course.
What is a traceur/traceuse?
- These are the French male/female terms for a parkour practitioner.
What should I do to get fit/ready to do parkour?
- You can actually do parkour right now regardless of how you feel or what you are capable of. Parkour is a training method where YOU define the obstacles and movements. You get to tailor your training to fit yourself in whatever stage of life/training you’re in. If you need some ideas or inspiration, head along to a local training or a class, they’ll work with you to show you what will be appropriate.
What if I'm old, can I still do parkour?
- Absolutely! All you need to do is get out there and give it a go. If you want some company, check out the training page.
What clothes/shoes do I need?
- Light, flexible clothing is ideal, such as shorts/track pants and t-shirts. You don’t actually need to wear shoes to do parkour, but again, light and flexible is the key. Check out our blog for some shoe reviews.
Can I do parkour if I don't live in a city?
- You sure can. Parkour isn’t an urban only activity, there just tends to be more people and more accessible obstacles in an urban environment.
Should I train alone or in a group?
- You should try to do both! Parkour is a personal activity, so you need to train alone to truly know how your body moves and how your mind works in a training situation when you haven’t got any friends around. At the same time, parkour thrives in a community context, so train with other people to get fresh ideas and encouragement. Try not to get stuck in either camp.
What do I do in bad weather?
- Go training! Just like training solo and with others is important, training in good and bad weather conditions prepares you for all scenarios.
Will I get in trouble for doing it?
- Parkour is not illegal, but you have to be sensible where you do it. We do not condone trespassing and will not advocate for you if you have been caught doing something illegal. Keep your training to public places.
- If you’re ever stopped by property owners, staff, security or police, stop your training and talk with them. Explain what parkour is, why you’re doing it, how the space you’re using is valuable to you and direct them to us for more information if necessary. If after a discussion they want you to go somewhere else, listen to them and find somewhere else to train. The last thing you want to do is have an argument and build a bad relationship.
What's the tallest thing you've jumped off? / What's the most extreme thing you've done?
- Parkour is not an extreme sport or an activity for daredevils, nor is it about jumping off tall buildings and seeking thrills. Parkour is about the pursuit of sustainable self-development of the body and mind. It requires dedication, patience, and perseverance; a measured approach that allows one to grow and learn without hurting oneself, others or the environment.
NZ Parkour Services
Who runs NZ Parkour?
- NZ Parkour is run by some of the most experienced and passionate parkour practitioners from around the country and most of them are volunteers.
- Have a look at the contact page to see same names and faces.
What does NZ Parkour do?
- If it’s parkour related, we do it; from advocacy to professional development, consultation to workshops, presentations to classes. Have a look at our what we do and see how we can help you. If what you’re looking for isn’t listed, ask us anyway, we bet we can help!
Do you teach instructors?
- Yes, we have run numerious professional development workshops for instructors and are currently developing a coaching pathway that includes courses and a full certification. Head over to the coaching department for details.
- We work with Regional Sports Trusts, running professional development workshops for PE teachers and sport coordinators.
Are there competitions? / Do you sponsor athletes?
- Parkour is primarily non-competitive and though competitive opportunities are increasing, our present focus is on grassroots participation.
- We do regularly host and run community events that everyone can attend – see for yourself.
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